Missouri Fox Trotter

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Species group:

Other common names: Foxtrotter

The basics:
The Missouri Fox Trotter is an American gaited breed which is most well-known for its smooth and comfortable, diagonal 4-beat “fox trot”. The breed was developed in the 1800’s in the Ozark Mountains. Early settlers to the area realized they needed a horse which could cover long distances at a quick, surefooted gait. The also wanted a breed which could help with farm work like plowing, hauling logs and working cattle, and which at the same time had a gentle temperament and could pull buggies and carriages. The earliest known horse in the area to do the fox trot was a horse called “Old Fox”. Old Fox was locally famous in south-central Missouri and Northern Arkansas for working cattle and his remarkably smooth trot.

The fox trot is a trot in which the back foot comes up a little before the diagonal front foot. In the old time fox trot the hind foot was placed in the hoof print of the front foot on the same side which exited the location a moment before the hind foot comes down. This is termed "capping the tracks" and is the preferred gait if the rider is looking for a sure footed horse. In the more modern fox trot (based on Tennessee Walking horse influence), the back foot actually overreaches considerably. This is sometimes a slightly smoother gait but it forfeits some of the sure-footedness of the original fox trot.

Buyers who want the original fox trot need to look into foundation type horses while those that are planning to keep mostly to smoother areas should go for the newer style. The fox trot is the most surefooted of all gaits (even slightly more surefooted than the trot). This is because at least one foot on each side is always on the ground with periods in the gait when three feet are on the ground at the same time. The fox trot can be maintained for great stretches of time, and can reach speeds up to 12 mph.

In 1958 the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breeders&

Appearance / health:
14 hands

There is no true Missouri Fox Trotter physical "type". More emphasis is placed on the grace, balance and athleticism of each horse than on whether it conforms to a specific type.

However, MFTHBA standards state: "The horse should stand well on its feet, be erect, wide awake and alert. The neck should be graceful, in proportion to length of body, and joined to the body in a manner pleasing to the eye. The fox trotting horse should have a neat, clean, symmetrically shaped head of medium length; pointed ears that are well shaped; eyes that are large, wide set and bright; and a tapered muzzle with large nostrils. The back should be reasonably short and strong, the body deep and the ribs well-sprung. The flank should be sleek, and the chest deep and full. The shoulders should be sloped at a 45 to 50 degree angle, and moderately muscled. The legs should be muscular and tapered. The foot should be well made, strong and in proper proportion to the size of the horse. The overall condition of the horse should be reflected by its demeanor, body weight, muscular definition and tone, hair coat, and the feet. In form to function, good conformation permits the gaits to be performed in the proper manner"

As with all horse breeds, colic and laminitis are the leading causes of death in Missouri Fox Trotters.

Behavior / temperament:
The Missouri Fox Trotter has a willing and gentle disposition.


versatile family horses, smooth gait, beginners horse, running walk, smooth foxtrot, stamina


easy keepers, Low metabolism


wonderful trail horses, fourbeat gait, rough terrain, rough ground, calmest stallions

Helpful Breed Review

Missouri Fox Trotter

From Jul 15 2013 3:05PM


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